Author Topic: Spices that hurt or kill yeast  (Read 2545 times)

Offline alohaarizona

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Spices that hurt or kill yeast
« on: April 17, 2010, 07:20:36 PM »
Hey,

I've been following established recipes and am now very eager to experiment with variations in spices, malts, hops, and yeasts. I know some spices can hurt or kill yeast, for example garlic. Garlic in beer sounds weird; I just use that as an example of a spice that's known to kill yeast. Do you have examples of any other spices or other additions that negatively impacted the yeast? If so, is there a safe way to use those spices?

Note: my beers will be all natural, nothing artificial, so "flavoring" is not an option I'll even touch. I've seen some amazing spices in beers out there and it looks like the door is wide open; just curious if there is anything known that must be avoided.

Thanks in advance for any advice.

Offline denny

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Re: Spices that hurt or kill yeast
« Reply #1 on: April 18, 2010, 08:54:59 AM »
Garlic will kill yeast?  I've never heard that, nor can I think how that would happen, right off the top of my head.  Can you explain?  AFAIK, there are no spices that can kill yeast.
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Offline alohaarizona

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Re: Spices that hurt or kill yeast
« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2010, 06:47:02 AM »
Thanks, much appreciated. I'm a much more experienced baker than brewer, and know that there are certain spices that must be added after the rising process in baking. Entirely different types of yeast are used in baking though, so wondered if there were spices to avoid when flavoring beers, or if certain ones needed to be added at certain steps in the process rather than in the grain bag. I've seen notes related to head retention regarding spices with heavy oils (e.g. licorice), so that's good to know. Just wanted to find out if any spices are known to kill or retard ale or lager yeasts.

Offline a10t2

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Re: Spices that hurt or kill yeast
« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2010, 07:50:32 AM »
Entirely different types of yeast are used in baking though

Sorry I can't actually help answer the question, but bread yeasts and ale yeasts are almost identical, genetically speaking.
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Offline denny

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Re: Spices that hurt or kill yeast
« Reply #4 on: April 19, 2010, 08:33:59 AM »
Entirely different types of yeast are used in baking though

Sorry I can't actually help answer the question, but bread yeasts and ale yeasts are almost identical, genetically speaking.

Yep!

To the OP, I wasn't aware that it was an issue in baking.  What kind of spices are you talking about?  Since I bake bread, I'd love to know!
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Offline babalu87

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Re: Spices that hurt or kill yeast
« Reply #5 on: April 19, 2010, 08:55:38 AM »
Pumpkin Pie spice

I stewarded a table of Cider this weekend and as the as judges were done they would ask me what I thought. On one (a Pumpkin Pie spiced cider) I stated that Pumpkin Pie spices are really good in Pumpkin Pie  ;D
Jeff

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Offline tubercle

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Re: Spices that hurt or kill yeast
« Reply #6 on: April 19, 2010, 09:02:28 AM »
Some ingredients and spices have anti-bacterial effects - garlic and cinnamon are two - but never heard of any that effects yeast and other fungus.
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Offline euge

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Re: Spices that hurt or kill yeast
« Reply #7 on: April 19, 2010, 11:45:53 AM »
Ginger gave a great deal of trouble in baking. The yeast breads just wouldn't rise. However ginger doesn't seem to retard fermentation when it comes to making ginger-beer.

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Offline akr71

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Re: Spices that hurt or kill yeast
« Reply #8 on: April 20, 2010, 09:26:38 AM »
Perhaps garlic 'kills' yeast in baking the same way that fats 'kill' head retention?  Maybe the garlic oil reacts in some way to prevent the bread dough from rising properly.  Recently I had a tremendous amount of trouble using honey in a whole wheat bread.  I had made the same recipe dozens of times before, but it kept collapsing about half way through the baking.  I tried buying new yeast and the same thing happened.  Then I realized I had used unpasteurized honey  :o Bought some pasteurized honey and the honey whole wheat bread was fine again!
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Offline alohaarizona

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Re: Spices that hurt or kill yeast
« Reply #9 on: April 20, 2010, 11:12:59 AM »
Hello all. I inquired with White Labs and Wyeast. Got no reply from Wyeast, but within several hours White Labs came back with exactly the information we needed for beer:

Rob,

I presented your question to the head of our Lab Operations and to her knowledge there are no spices that we are aware of that would kill the yeast. You should not have any problems.

Thanks!

Pam Marshall
Sales/Customer Service
White Labs, Inc.
888-593-2785
858-536-4587 (Direct)
www.whitelabs.com

That means we are fine for fermentation. Head retention can be impacted by some spices though; that's a well-known factor.

As for bread baking I have added a huge variety of spices to breads. I generally use an easy and light French bread recipe first to gauge the impact of taste, scent, etc of varying amounts of spices, much as we do when trying spices in beer. In baking I've encountered problems adding garlic, chili peppers, citrus juices, wine, beer, whisky, liquors, and chocolate in bar form to bread dough. In each case the dough did not rise sufficiently. I've doubled the yeast and tried again, but this has not been successful because I suppose the spice or ingredient has altered either the pH or the sugar enough to make the dough inhospitable to the yeast. To use the spices I've waited until after the rise then added them before the bake, either by rolling out the dough and shaking them on or simply pounding them in. Rather than citrus juice I use the zest of several fruits (use a grater and grate off just the colorful part of the outside of the peel - that's the zest). For beers and other liquors reduce them in a warm pot, add margarine and a complimentary spice to make a creamy liquor syrup, then spread this over rolled out dough with a spatula. Roll up and put in the baking pan. Put some more over the top. Bake this and your place is going to smell as close to heaven as it does on days 2 and 3 when your primary fermenter is bubbling away. 

Experiment with homebrew syrups and homebrew bread. Sandwiches made with this bread will make your lunch guests redefine good. And your girlfriend/wife/SO/breakfast customers will be begging you for French toast (homebrew syrups AND homebrew bread).

Offline alohaarizona

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Re: Spices that hurt or kill yeast
« Reply #10 on: April 21, 2010, 01:14:03 PM »
To be fair to Wyeast they did reply this morning, confirming what we heard previously:

Rob,

In my experience I have not heard of any spices when used in tolerable
levels (by tolerable I mean at a level that produces a drinkable beer)
that inhibit yeast growth and fermentation.  There are most likely some
spices that when used in concentrated from will inhibit yeast growth,
but the levels would have to be so high that you would not use them at
those levels in brewing.

I will do a little searching on this subject and if I find any info I
will pass it along.

I hope this answers your questions.


Jess Caudill
Brewer/Microbiologist
Wyeast Laboratories
(541) 354-1335